Edmund: Do I have to confess my sins to a priest, to a human? Couldn’t I just go straight to God and ask for forgiveness? Hey, just out here cutting my super green lawn. Ooh. Now, believe it or not, when I mow my lawn, sometimes it reminds me of a conversation I’ve had with a friend that, maybe a question you’ve had as well. Couldn’t I just go straight to God and ask for forgiveness? And we can actually find the answer to that question in the Bible. There’s actually a really practical way we can answer that question as well. You see in the New Testament, Jesus gives the power to forgive sins to his priests. In John 20: 21- 23, it says, Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me. So I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Rceive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Later on, we also see St. Paul explaining why he has this ability to forgive the sins of others. He says in 2 Corinthians, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” So St. Paul is participating in this same ministry of reconciliation that the apostles, Jesus’ priests do. The Catechism also reminds us in 1465, it says, “When he (meaning the priest) celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan, who binds up wounds, of the Father, who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return. And of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner.” So Jesus wanted to give us the priesthood and the priests to be an instrument of his mercy and forgiveness to offer us this, through the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus left us with the sacrament through which we can receive absolution, we can receive forgiveness of our sins. So couldn’t we just go to God and ask for forgiveness? I once heard it, put this way, let’s say your dad leaves you at home alone and he gives you this task to mow the lawn. And he tells you, use the lawnmower. Now, could you get out on the lawn and try to mow the lawn with scissors? I mean, you, you could try. But why would you, why would you try to use scissors when your father has left you with this gift of a lawnmower that you can use to mow the lawn? I mean, it might feel awkward to talk to a priest and tell him our sins and ask for forgiveness. But the priest is there on behalf of Jesus forgiving us of sin, and he wants nothing more, Jesus and the priest, to offer us that reconciliation and forgiveness. Also, you can, can be assured that priests are never gonna be scandalized or surprised by your sins. Like think about it. Most priests have been hearing confessions for years, right? They’ve heard all sorts of things. And I doubt that you’re gonna surprise or freak them out by one of your sins. It’s also the case that priests are bound by the sacrament to never reveal or even act on any knowledge that they receive during the sacrament of reconciliation. Even if they’re threatened with legal consequences or death, they can’t reveal anything that’s revealed in the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus, in his plan for us, in his plan for the Church, wants us to experience confessing our sins to him through his priest, who in the ministry and Sacrament of Reconciliation exercises this power of mercy and forgiveness on behalf of Jesus. And this is the power of forgiveness that Christ gave the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And Jesus wants us to hear the words through his priest, that we are forgiven, that we are reconciled to the Church, and that we are loved and that we are not bad. He wants us to experience that mercy and to hear out loud those words of absolution that the priest says when we are forgiven of our sins. And in this way, God offers us restored life through the Sacrament of Reconciliation when it is weakened or lost by sin.